FDI World Dental Federation releases toothbrushing consensus

Father and daughter brushing teeth and smiling
Australian Dental Association
12 February 2024
10 min read
Oral health

The FDI World Dental Federation, of which the ADA is an active member, has released the Development of Tooth Brushing Recommendations Through Professional Consensus through its flagship publication, the International Dental Journal.

The release of the consensus, which offers "practical guidance on individual-level preventive strategies", follows a meticulous systematic review of the "available evidence on the effectiveness of different toothbrushing methods across diverse populations and recommended frequencies,” according to FDI.

The urgency of releasing such a statement is driven by the fact that oral diseases affect some 3.5 billion people worldwide with statistics revealing a significant percentage of those people suffer from dental caries in their permanent teeth.

This is backed by the ADA’s own Oral Health Tracker which shows that only 53% of Australian adults brush their teeth twice a day and that only 10.7% of people have never experienced decay in their permanent teeth. The ADA’s Consumer Oral Health Survey reveals 1 in 5 Australians still only brush once or less per day.

While these figures cause understandable alarm, FDI notes that "by implementing effective preventive strategies, there exists a considerable potential to significantly decrease the prevalence of [oral] diseases."

Given what it terms the “wide diversity” in toothbrushing methods, FDI undertook to arrive at a consensus on the effectiveness of these various techniques, evaluating them either from available literature, or where this was not possible, a consensus was sought from FDI Standing Committees and Council on recommendations based on good practice rather than evidence alone.

The consensus has been provided so that FDI’s member associations can read and share it with their members with the hope being that it will provide "clinicians with practical guidance for reinforcing individual-level preventive strategies during patient communications."

FDI is currently developing a chairside guide and a patient guideline that will offer comprehensive recommendations for toothbrushing and oral hygiene. These guidelines are designed to provide healthcare professionals with practical advice, enhancing their communication with patients and reinforcing personalized preventive measures.

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